News / USA

US Women's Field Hockey Team Aims for London Podium

x
US Women's Field Hockey Team Aims for Podium in Londoni
|| 0:00:00
X
June 28, 2012 10:11 PM
The United States has won only one medal in women’s Olympic field hockey, and that was a bronze when the nation hosted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. But this year’s team has high expectations that it will reach the podium at the London Olympics. VOA’s Parke Brewer explains.
Parke Brewer
The United States has won only one medal in women’s Olympic field hockey, and that was a bronze when the nation hosted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.  But this year’s team has high expectations that it will reach the podium at the London Olympics.  
 
After receiving an automatic berth as host of women’s Olympic field hockey at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, the United States failed to qualify for the event at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.  So it hired a new coach in 2005, Lee Bodimeade,  who won a silver medal playing men’s field hockey for Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

He says his philosophy of the game, and the fact that the culture of Australian and American sports are similar, helped him get the job.

“It’s an aggressive mentality to go and get the ball," said Bodimeade. "And my real belief is empowering the athletes and having them be the driver to success which is ultimately what determines it.  And I wanted to give them the freedom to be able to play and make decisions on the run and, as I said, empower them to have the knowledge and ability to do so.”

Bodimeade guided the American women to a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  They were rated 11th in the 12-team field and finished 8th.  Seven of the Beijing players are on Bodimeade’s team for the London Games.
 
“What’s transpired since then is we have an addition of young, fast, skillful athletes that are elevating the performance, and so that’s what we’ve got," he said. "We’ve got the base level of senior players that have a very, very good fundamental base of skill, and now we have the real sharp elevated skill level from the newer players in the group.”

The U.S. women upset then-world number-one Argentina at last year’s Pan American Games in Mexico to earn an automatic Olympic berth  And in a recent series of pre-Olympic warm-up matches against the world champions in Virginia, the Americans and Argentines each won once and played to two draws.
 
Bodimeade says it is important for his players to test themselves against the best.

“Everything is about being able to execute the basic skills under extreme pressure and at speed," he said. "And the more you’re exposed to that, the more you’re able to adapt and be able produce at that level.  And we’ve really worked hard on our basic skill level and being able to do that under pressure, and that has driven our elevation of performance.”

The captain of the U.S. women’s field hockey team is 27-year-old central defender Lauren Crandall.

Bodimeade calls her an exceptional, disciplined hockey player who drives the team.

“She has to be all things.  She has to be smart," he said. "She has to be able to read the play exceptionally well, her ability to distribute [the ball] and to set our attacking plays.  She’s the key to it, and that’s what she does very well.”

Crandall grew up playing soccer, but switched to field hockey in high school.  She says she never had thoughts of competing in an Olympics.  She just loved the competition and worked hard at the sport without knowing where it might lead her.

Now, with recent successes, she and her teammates believe they can win an Olympic medal in London.

“You know we’re ranked 10th in the world right now, but we feel like if we follow the process like we have been and taking the steps that we need to, we’ll put ourselves in position to be standing on the podium at the end of the London Games," said Crandall.

To do it, the United States will need to get through round-robin matches in a difficult Pool B that includes Argentina, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa.

Coach Bodimeade says his team is ready for the challenge.

“Nobody goes to the Olympics for experience in my book," he said. "You are going there to win.  And that’s the belief that I have.  We’re going in there to put in these performances that will give us the result that we want.”

And that is to capture the first Olympic medal for U.S. women’s field hockey since 1984.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid